Inexperienced, Undereducated Truck Driver Destroys Indiana Bridge Built In 1880

Inexperienced, Undereducated Truck Driver Destroys Indiana Bridge Built In 1880

(Photos and statement by Orange County Indiana Law Enforcement) – When engineers designed the iron bridge in Paoli they tried to account for lots of things. Unfortuantely they could not account for 23 year old Mary Lambright, a freshly minted CDL truck driver whose last name comically contains the word “bright”. You may think we’re being unnecessarily mean here but when you read the police statement below and see that she admitted to police that she saw the six ton weight limit signs and proceeded because she did not know how many pounds six tons represented you’ll understand our take a little better.

Her truck weighed more than 30 tons when she got the tractor onto the bridge and then began peeling the top of the too-tall-to-fit trailer off. Immediately thereafter the whole structure gave way and a bridge that was one of the last historical markers in the town of Paoli, a bridge that had been standing for more than 130 years, was reduced to scrap.

There are a few things to be noted here that happened before the calamity with the bridge went down. The first was a wrong turn which started a series of bad decisions that inexperienced drivers make. Following the wrong turn there were attempts to get the truck going in the right direction and those all failed. Instead of stopping and coming up with a plan, Lambright just kept digging a deeper and deeper hole. Should we mention that her 17-year old cousin was with her in the truck? We’re not sure that matters other than to mention there was a person who could have jumped out, stopped traffic, etc.

For 10 years of my life I worked jobs where I was in charge of guys driving trucks. From big heavy trucks filled with bottled water (like Mary was hauling) or smaller trucks with hazardous chemicals in them, it was a nerve wracking existence because I was always fearful of something like this happening. While Mary will have to pay a $135 fine, the company she drives for will be getting fried in legal hell for some time to come.

At the end of the day, though? The part that is incredibly maddening about this situation is the fact that the driver did not know how many pounds six tons was. She also clearly didn’t know how many pounds her truck weighed. If that does not make your head spin, we’re not sure what will.

Here’s the statement issued by the police and below that their photos –

On December 25, 2015, on or about 1200 hours, Mary Lambright, 23 year old female from Fredericksburg, Indiana was driving a 2015 Volvo Semi Truck with a 53 foot box trailer containing 43,000 pounds of bottled water. Ms. Lambright stated her intentions were to park her semi in the parking lot of the Paoli Wal-Mart. Lambright entered the square from East Main Street and missed the exit heading to Wal-Mart and exited onto West Main Street. Ms. Lambright then turned left onto Southwest 1st Street in an attempt to turn around. She travel down Southwest 1st and turned left onto South Gospel Street. She made several attempts to turn left on to South Oak Street but was unsuccessful. Ms. Lambright was aware of a parking lot further north on South Gospel Street and determined she could turn the truck around in the lot to get back to Southwest 1st Street. When she approached the parking lot she discovered it was full of heavy equipment and could not use it to turn around.

Ms. Lambright was aware of the iron bridge stating she had driven on it several times in her personal vehicle and was also aware of the posted signage “no semis, weight limit of 6 tons”. When asked by Paoli Police why she continued through the bridge knowing the weight limit was only 6 tons she admitted to not knowing how many pounds that was. She was advised the weight of the vehicle at the time of the crash was close to 30 tons. Ms. Lambright stated she wasn’t comfortable backing the semi up and made the decision to try to go through the bridge. When the semi entered the bridge the trailer immediately began ripping open due to the trailer was taller than the top of the bridge. As the vehicle continued the weight of the vehicle caused the bridge to collapse.

Ms. Lambright and her 17 year old female cousin, who was also in the vehicle, exited the vehicle and were unharmed. Ms. Lambright received her CDL endorsement on 5/12/2015. She currently works for Louisville Logistics out of Louisville, Kentucky. The vehicle and trailer were hauled to Wilcox wrecker service out of Salem, Indiana and is being held pending an inspection by the Indiana State Police.

Agencies/Companies involved in this incident are;
Paoli Police, Orange County Sheriff Department, Paoli Fire and Rescue, Paoli Town employees, IU Health, Wilcox Wrecker Service, Hankins Corvette Sales, and Kendell Trucking
Ms. Lambright is cited for the following;
Indiana code 9-21-8-50, reckless operation of Tractor-Trailer, a class B misdemeanor
Indiana code 9-21-8-41, disregarding a traffic control device, a class B infraction
Indiana code 9-20-7-1, overweight on posted bridge.

bridge1 bridge2 bridge3 bridge4

  • Share This
  • Pinterest
  • 0

98 thoughts on “Inexperienced, Undereducated Truck Driver Destroys Indiana Bridge Built In 1880

  1. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    I will tactfully avoid all the women driver jokes and wait for some side-splitting comments.

    But one thing – offering your 17 year old cousin to the driving examiner as a means to secure your licence sure came back to bite you in your sweet ass, honey!

  2. Gary351C

    Sadly, you don’t need a Phd in astrophysics to obtain a cdl, all you need is a pulse. Hopefully this will be the end of her truckin’ career, but I doubt it.

    1. Kay Gifford

      No, you don’t need a PhD but you do need a brain. I, a 61 year old female, have been driving a semi truck for 18 accident free years and the new young drivers coming out of these driving school Mills scare the crappy out of me.

        1. Missy

          Congratulations, you are the first low life I read that made the “women driver joke.” There are many top notch women drivers and many aweful drivers that are men. This person was clearly poorly trained ot just dumb. The fact that she is a woman has nothing to do with it.

        2. Curby

          I have been driving for eight years and supervise other drivers and i have to say the stupidest and most dangerous things I’ve seen done were by men. This woman is clearly not qualified, but I don’t think you should take this as an example of all women.

        3. gail

          Funny since 87% of all accidents are due to males. Allstate insurance remarked back in the 1970s that if it was legal, they would not insure males at all. Males lack the ability to multi task and most accidents involve males listening to the radio while driving. Males also have a lower survival instinct.

      1. John

        I’ve been driving for 23 years and try to help new drivers out all the time .explain things to them but they never listen they know it all

        1. gail

          They have been taught by their fat dumpy mommies and hippie school teachers that their opinions matter and to question authority. Seriously. Those under 52 years old are losers as a result. I saw this crap in truck driving school daily where they would say, “I think it should be done this way so this is the way I’m doing it”.

    2. NP

      I resent your comment about only needing a pulse. Sounds like something that would come out of her mouth!!! CDL’s are a bit more difficult to obtain then just having a pulse!! If that were true, all the idiot, “I’m a race car driver”, class c licensed drivers would be driving trucks, in fact if everyone had to go through what we do to obtain and retain a class A CDL, there would be a lot less cars on the road. I am in no way on her side. She made a huge mistake and not for a minute do I believe she didn’t know that 6 tons was 12,000 pounds and her tractor alone weighed more then that. I do believe she was frustrated and embarrassed and saying anything that came to her mind. Legally, the clearance height must be posted on the bridge and a sign stating the clearance must be posted no less then 1/4 of a mile before the bridge. Obviously her inexperience played a huge role in this !!!

      1. Chris

        actually it’s 13440 pounds…just letting you know…imperial isn’t as easy to remember as metric…a ton is 6000 kilograms though

        1. Jim

          1 metric ton is 1,000 kg. An Imperial ton, also known as British ton or long ton, is 2,240 lbs. A US ton or short ton is 2,000 lbs.

        2. Jim

          Thanks for proving you’re as ignorant as Ms. Lambright… A kilogram is approx. 2.2 US pounds, so 6000 kilograms is approx. 6.6 US tons.

      2. russ

        are you seriously brain damaged or did you fall off the ‘ I can’t read ‘ truck? the bridge was clearly marked NO SEMI’S, that was mistake #1 for her, minus 10 internets for you. next mistake on her part, wrong turn, yet she says she was familiar with the road AND the bridge, another minus 10 internets for you. Moral: read the story, THEN read the comments……….. js, and no, cdl’s are not at all hard to get, you have to pass a vision check, safety check, criminal background check and pass driving school…….

      3. Linda Hayenga

        This is what the 2 week wonder driving schools are turning loose on the roads! And you don’t need more than a pulse to get hired by one of the mega fleets

    1. Robert53

      What company was she driving for ? I have seen men do they same dumb driving in my past 30 plus years of driving an have seen women out drive men But this was totally uncalled for as a driver. of any sex. she needs to find a new line of work..

  3. Smackdown

    Heavenly Father, we pray in the name of St. Sebastian, Patron Saint of Ironworkers that this bridge did not suffer as this woman plowed her truck into it’s mighty trusses! O Lord, as the rivets blew out and the beams twisted, we know that this bridge cried out into the night! Sadly, she did not hear it’s cries! We also pray to Saint Hubertus, who conveniently is not only the Patron Saint of Metalworkers, but he is also the Patron Saint of Mathematicians! May he bestow upon this woman the ability to know that 1 ton = 2,000 pounds, that the bridge was rated for 6 tons, which is 12,000 pounds, and that her truck exceeded that bridges rated load by over 50,000 pounds, which is 25 tons! Finally, let us be thankful that no one was injured, and we pray that in her next job, she does not forget to supersize the order! Amen.

    1. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

      Such sweet poetry – and great knowledge of obscure saints – well, as a die-hard Father Ted fan I put it all down to the great St. Tuburlus.

      I know why she actually crashed the rig – it is impossible to drive with a drunken priest bellowing “Feck Arse Drink!” sitting in the cab while pawing your 17 year cousin.

      They should never have picked up Father Jack when he was hitch kicking to get his next bottle of brake fluid…..

  4. cyclone03

    That bridge held up very well! If that were a modern concrete and steel bridge they both would have been wet.
    IIRC the big deal about that bridge is it is revited not welded together. It looks repairable to me.Or at least savable. Maybe moved and become a foot bridge. Here in San Antonio there is a 100+ year old iron bridge that was moved and reconstructed as a foot bridge.

  5. Braktrcr

    Regardless of the weight limit I think the “NO SEMI’S” part of the sign might have been an additional clue.
    I used to rent out bobtail trucks to the public… they ran into stuff all the time. But a trained driver, not paying attention to height restrictions and the obvious weight issues…sad sad sad

  6. WeirdHarold

    Sadly when you lower wages, you get people in trucks like Mary. She’s not dumb just inexperienced, trying to make a living. I had some close calls starting out and thankfully the Lord was watching out for me. I hope she grows from this and in time becomes a great driver.

    1. Mont

      I’m not sure we can rule that she isn’t indeed dumb. Maybe we don’t have enough information to prove it, but we definitely can’t cross it off the list.

  7. Michael

    You would think the fact that the truck wouldn’t fit on the bridge in the first place would have stopped this before any questions regarding weight were even worth considering.

  8. streamfortyseven

    The bridge looks repairable, it’s only about 1/3 of the structure that’s messed up. As to whether the weight limit will be six tons, I doubt it, bicycles or pedestrians would be more like it. And ripping the roof off a semi – surely that must have made some noise, caused some major vibrations…

      1. Catherine

        Great one Dana!

        I couldn’t resist posting!

        Good, good, good, gOoOoDdddd ViIiBbAaaTiOooOnsss! LoL! ;D

  9. John Furry

    The actual responsibility for that incident should go to those that endorsed her to have a CDL license in the first place.

    1. Steven Craig

      In the first place the only reason that endorsements are on the cdl are for tankers , hazmat , doubles and passengers .

    2. helpontheway

      don’t worry within 10 years these semi-trucks will be driverless over the road load with sensors which would have prevented this

    1. Little John

      They have been bandying this about for 15-20 years, I dont think they will ever lower the age. I drove for 20 years and I am in favor of raising the age to 25

  10. T. Williams

    She’s just a kid. WOW !!!! People just starting out in jobs, make mistakes !!!
    Probably, most people that are commenting on here went down a few wrong roads themselves ( It just didn’t catch up with them at the moment )
    Give the kid a break !!! Looks to me like she did the town a favor. They get a NEW bridge now.

    1. Satienra

      When they rebuilt the bottom of the bridge from a wooden base to a grated base it took 6 months in good weather. How long you think it’s goin to take to rebuild?

  11. yhgtfrde

    Not comfortable backing up, the article states?

    Gee there princess, how did you plan on getting the water back OUT of the truck, once you arrived at your delivery?

    \”Back into door 5\” the receiver says.

    \”Um, is there any way that you can come out and unload me in the parking lot?\” she wonders.

    \”Sure honey! Don\’t you worry! We\’ll just use hover-forklifts and fly our way into your trailer!\” the receiver laughs.

    1. NP

      Thanks for the laugh yhgtfrde. Out of all the comments on here, yours is the best!!! Keep the shiny side up brother!!

  12. yhgtfrde

    You know, some of these new drivers would really try to drive across a foot bridge, if they came up to one!

  13. Joe

    And the amazing fact she didn’t have a cell phone to google how many pounds are in one ton? We live in the age of smart phones and stupid people

  14. Daniel cobb

    She is one of those drivers that blows thru these towns and doesn’t care and if that bridge would have held as she drove across, it would have fell and she wouldn’t haven’t looked back because she doesn’t care about safety of others with the dangerous equipment she is driving.

    1. NP

      And your probably one of those drivers that got a license from a Cracker Jack box and think your GOD’s gift to driving. When you have 20 accident free years behind the wheel of a rig, you have room to talk!!

  15. Beckey Neal

    I am just a grandmother and can’t drive a big truck like that, but I can tell just by looking that no way would I have thought that big truck could fit under that bridge, let alone not cave it in. That would have terrified me to think about trying to drive that rig on that bridge.

  16. Katie

    I drove a semi-tractor trailer for 12 years and was also an instructor at a truck driving school. HOW did this girl ever even get a license? It should be permanently taken away if she had no idea how much her truck weighed.

    1. Greg Baker

      Thats half the problem. You drove a whole 12 years and think your a professional able to teach others at a school. Lord help us all.

  17. Connie Atha

    Drove semi 18+ years. Between idiots like this and the DOT, it’s no wonder I’ve retired from the road and sold my truck.

  18. Cecil Murphy

    Not surprising she didn’t know how much 6 tons was. I don’t think they teach math anymore in school. These cashiers at the fast food joints have a hard time making change unless the register tells them how much. I had an order that came to $2.16, I gave her a $5.00 + 1 penny. She kept insisting my change was $2.84 tried to explain finally had to give up. No common sense or comprehension at all.

  19. Mack

    We “Old School” drivers would never have gone down that road because we “Old School” drivers don’t rely solely upon a GPS system and *ALWAYS* check our map books for low bridges and restricted routes.

    A 3.5 million mile, accident-free, “Old School” driver trainer. 30 years and counting.

  20. deano

    Umm… hate to burst the bubble but if the truck weighed just over 30 ton, (60000lbs) and was carrying 43000 lbs of bottled water that would make the empty weight 17000lbs… Any truck driver knows that kind of empty weight is impossible. I think the reporters should start getting facts straight before publishing information

  21. TheDude

    “Any truck driver knows that kind of empty weight is impossible.” … except the unfortunate Ms. Lambright!

  22. Mel

    This unfortunate young lady had just left the Amish order last year. Her total driving experience was limited. She never should have been behind that wheel.

  23. Dee

    Not a teamster, I assume? A union driver would probably not have made this mistake. The vast majority of trucking accidents are in non-union trucks. Like 3 to 1.

  24. Terrell Martin

    I have been a Driver for now onto 30 years, i never went to a school, was just thrown a set of keys and said go make us money, I followed the older drivers and talked and learned from them, Sad thing today, no one talks or helps each other like the good old days, and when you do try to point out something, you get attitude from the one your trying to help. I see a bleack future for the driving industry, I have seen some real “dont belong in a truck”folks out there in the last few years, Hence the pileups occurring in the snow belts, slow down and smell the flowers boys and girls, life will go on, IF you dont take the time to learn your new profession correctly!

  25. Jack

    Mary Lambright is better at destroying historical artifacts than ISIL.
    Perhaps this should go down as an act of domestic terrorism.

  26. Jack

    It’s hard to believe that neither the 23-year-old nor the 17-year-old knew that there are 2000 pounds in a ton. Have high schools stopped teaching basic math as well as common sense?

  27. Judy

    High schools haven’t stopped teaching the basics–they just graduate the ones who don’t learn along with those who do. Also, it has nothing to do with the driver being female. Stupidity is not gender-specific.

    1. John

      Close all truck driver training schools. Learn the hard way, like I did ! After 64 years of safe driving without a chargeable accident, and still driving full time , safely !! John

      1. John

        Close all truck driver training schools. Learn the hard way, like I did ! After 64 years of safe driving without a chargeable accident, and still driving full time , safely !! John

  28. Dwayne

    OK, I get that she didn’t know how many pounds are in a ton. But does she know what a “Semi” is? She drives one. The sign said “No Semis.”

  29. Raven

    When I went to TT school 22yrs ago… They told us they weren’t there to teach us to be truck drivers… they were there to teach us how to pass the CDL test and get our license… There was a guy practicing one day.. I hadn’t seen him before and queried as to who he was…. He was practicing to test with MV again… He had already failed 9 times…. could not believe it… If you can’t pass in a couple of attempts.. you need to find a different career…….. I tested once… 22 years of driving… 2 million miles… No tickets.. No accidents.. would still be out there if not taken out by a disability…

  30. Jessica

    What a dumb ass she’s driving on the roads with our loved ones with a huge rig that could cause serious harm. She should never ever be allowed in a semi again.

  31. Jeffrey Moss

    The fact that she has crossed the bridge in her personal vehicle, admitted she saw the sign stating no trucks should disqualify her CDL..if not the reckless driving citation will prevent her from getting in another truck for 3-5 years..and guys? me..her gender had nothing to do with was blatant disregard for warning signs and a serious lack of common sense, something I encounter on an hourly basis out here..

  32. Jason

    I’m a driver of 12 years now a 3rd generation operator and being a women had nothing to do with that she was just to stupid and the lack of obvious training say what you will about driver training programs this idiot driver was a push through from an independent school most likely

  33. janet diehl

    The driver made some horrendous mistakes. I imagine she panicked way before she came to the bridge, which is never good. I just hope if she keeps on driving, she learns how to stay calm before she kills someone. We all make mistakes and this one was a doozy.

  34. Judge Dredd

    This is the result of Common Core education where it takes over 12,000 steps to figure out how many lbs in a ton.

    This incident literally boggles the mind for its sheer mindlessness, stupidity, crassness and ultimately sadness at having a 130 year old bridge destroyed by this female equivalent of Obummer (Obama – he of the 52 states in the Union fame). At least she admits to being an idiot.

  35. Judge Dredd

    …. and by the way…. 1 kilogram (kg) is 2.2lbs not 2lbs. You can thank the French for foisting the kg on the world. They insisted that all the countries in Europe use it when the European Union was formed. It took a while though for it to be used in England.

Comments are closed.